Clean & cool summer snacks

Project Meal Prep | Clean, cool, vegan summer snacks
Photo by robbplusjessie

I’m still in Toronto and there’s been a heat wave warning for this week. Today and tomorrow, we’ll reach a high of 34 C / 93.2 F!

I’ve been seeking relief by staying in my sister’s basement and working from air conditioned coffee shops. However, my boyfriend’s car’s A/C is broken, so sitting in traffic is the worst. The fan and the A/C can’t work at the same time, so you have to turn the A/C on for a few seconds, then switch to the fan so cold air blows out. Then after 3 seconds, there’s no more cold air so you have to start over again.

Anyway…!

If you’re doing a lot of backyard grilling and going to summer BBQs, you might be looking for something a little more interesting, healthy but still vegan to eat. I feel like people usually do grilled veggies (which can get boring), chips & salsa (not so waist-friendly) and non-vegan ice cream (none for me).

Here are some super easy, fruit and veggie-based summer party snacks to mix it up. Each thing takes like 2 seconds of effort to make, which is nice because it’s too hot to deal with anything complicated.

Watermelon slushie

This drink is so refreshing and full of watermelon-y goodness.

  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • maple syrup to taste (optional)
  1. Cut the watermelon into chunks and freeze for 8 hours or overnight
  2. Put the chunks into a blender with as much maple syrup as you like, and blend until smooth
  3. Pour into glasses and drink through a straw

Mango dip

This is a sweet, refreshing, low-carb alternative to the usual chips and guac or chips and salsa.

  • 3 ripe Manila mangos
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  1. Slice each mango into thirds, with the middle section being the seed.
  2. Cut a grid onto the outer thirds, then flip inside out and slice off the cubes that stick out.
  3. Put the mango cubes into a food processor and blend until smooth
  4. Pull the leaves off the Romaine and dip into the pureed mango

Grilled peaches

Millions of peaches, peaches for me!

  • peaches
  • a couple dashes of cinnamon (optional)
  1. Run a knife through the middle of each peach, going around the pit
  2. Pull each half apart and remove the pit
  3. Grill until slightly charred
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon

Grilled pineapple

You could also do this over a fire when camping!

  • 1 pineapple
  • lime juice, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  1. Slice off the outside of the pineapple, then cut into 8 long wedges
  2. Remove the core from each wedge
  3. Grill until slightly charred
  4. Add a little lime juice, salt, and cayenne on each wedge

Coconut water popsicles

These are full of electrolytes and natural sweetness, unlike many store-bought popsicles that are filled with high-fructose corn syrup (!!). Since the frozen coconut water is clear, you can see all the pretty fruits, too.

  • 1 can or bottle of pure coconut water
  • assorted frozen or fresh fruits, such as kiwi, strawberries, mango, pineapple, and blueberries.
  1. Chop the frozen fruit into pieces that will fit into a popsicle mold
  2. Fill the molds with as much fruit as you like. You might have to press some of the fruit onto the sides of the mold so they don’t all clump together at the bottom.
  3. Fill the remaining empty space in the molds with coconut water
  4. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight

Recipe: Not Coco-Roons

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I came across Coco-Roons in the grocery store the other day and decided to try them. They’re raw, vegan, organic, sweetened with maple syrup, and have just a few ingredients. I love how they taste — very coconut-y and just a little bit sweet. I only plan on having one or two per day though, since they’re still a source of added sugar.

Anyway, as I was eating one, I checked out the ingredients and noticed there weren’t very many, so I thought, I could make this! After all, they’re almost $1 each.

Ingredients (makes 3)

  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal flour
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • a tiny pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Grind up the shredded coconut in a blender or nut & spice mill until it becomes a powder. I used my Nutribullet.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together
  3. Roll into balls, or press into a mini muffin tin to shape them

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 96 (the real ones have 80 — I don’t know how!)
Carbs: 5g
Fat: 8g
Protein: 2g

Travelling with snacks on snacks on snacks

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When I’m travelling or out and about, I’ve learned to ALWAYS have snacks on hand.

How many times have you gotten hangry (hungry + angry) at your travel partner?

How many times have you gotten hungry while out and ended up grabbing something that you didn’t REALLY want to eat, but it was the only option?

I always used to feel this way at the airport. It makes me cringe to pay expensive prices for crappy food.

I had an overnight flight last night and I ate a large-ish dinner just before going to the airport. I knew I’d get hungry again later so I brought some snacks that I bought along with my groceries on Sunday:

  • popcorn with Nutritional Yeast
  • an apple
  • cherry tomatoes
  • grapes

I also like bringing ear plugs and an eye mask so I can fall asleep in total darkness and silence. Ideally I wouldn’t even have taken a red-eye flight, because poor sleep quality = a weakened immune system. Also I feel pretty terrible the next day when I haven’t slept well, but sometimes you don’t have much of a choice.

Homemade popcorn secrets

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I’m a HUGE popcorn lover, and I only like to buy kernels because it’s way cheaper. Take a look at these price comparisons from the same online store:

Bob’s Red Mill White Popcorn – 27 oz bag – $3.69 – $0.14/ounce

Newman’s Own Natural Microwave Popcorn 10.5 Ounce – $3.79 –  $0.36/ounce

Skinny Pop Popcorn – 4.4 oz bag – $2.83 – $0.64/ounce

The downside of making popcorn from kernels is it can be a pain to pop them. You can pop them on the stove or in a paper bag, but the best method I’ve found is to use this silicone bowl. I love it because it can fit a LOT of popcorn compared to a paper bag and it’s faster than stove-popping.

My other problem with homemade popcorn is HOW DO YOU SEASON IT? Because I don’t want to use too much oil, anything I put on it falls to the bottom!

I’ve found the best technique.

First, use a mortar and pestle to grind up my salt and other seasonings (I love nutritional yeast) to a fine powder. This is the most important part, because it makes everything small enough to stick to the popcorn.

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Then, spray the popcorn 2-3 times in different areas with olive oil from my mister and sprinkle the ground up seasoning on top.

Enjoy!

Healthy, lazy snacks with minimal effort (vegan)

I’m all about planning my meals, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball or maybe you don’t want to plan every snack. These are some of my go-tos for when I’m on the hunt for something to munch on between meals.

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Frozen berry “cereal”

I got this idea from Laura Miller (Raw Vegan Not Gross). Basically you dump some frozen berries in a bowl and add non-dairy milk and eat it like cereal. It’s just as easy as eating cereal but full of antioxidant goodness.

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Frozen grapes

Whenever I buy grapes, I pluck them all off the branch and put half in a ziplock bag in the freezer. They’re so refreshing.

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Spicy, savory pineapple

I love pineapples in any form, but a savory way to eat them is to sprinkle them with lime, salt, and cayenne pepper. The cayenne makes it spicy but also is a metabolism-booster!

Dates dipped in Nut Butter

This is great if you’re craving something sweet — essentially you take a date and dip it in a jar of nut butter (or put the nut butter in a bowl first if you wanna be civilized).

Avocado with lemon and salt

I like making this at work in the afternoon when I’m hungry between lunch and dinner. The fat in avocado is so satisfying and it takes like 2 seconds to make this.

What are your favorite quick, easy and healthy snacks?! Tell me, I want to know!